Food review: Yuzen restaurant serves fresh Japanese food

by Elise Van Dam

This past week, April 21-29, the Spokane community hosted Japan Week, a Japanese cultural event. The event has been put on in April since 1992 and has a wide variety of sponsors  such as The Spokesman-Review and Spokane Falls Community College. The goal of the event is to allow the Spokane community to participate in various Japanese cultural activities and to raise awareness of  the deeply-rooted culture through traditional fine arts performances, food, lectures and festivals.

“It’s a great opportunity for people in Spokane to know Japanese culture,” said Yuko Taniguchi, who teaches Japanese at Whitworth. “Only a limited number of people know of the event and I hope that more people will come to know more about it.”

Not only has Japan Week Spokane 2012 interested the Spokane community, but it has also brought awareness to the Whitworth campus through Taniguchi. This year she assigned her students to go and participate in one of the activities from the event. She recommended the opening ceremony to students because it had a lot of  different  activities going on, such as a dynamic Japanese drumming performance and a martial arts demonstration.

In light of Japan Week, I decided to try out a Japanese restaurant: Yuzen Sushi Restaurant at 5204 North Division St.

The restaurant serves a wide variety, from sushi to hot food. Because sushi is such a staple food of Japan, and I think it’s delicious, I got a lunch platter called Bara-Sushi and Tempura Lunch for $6.95. The lunch platter was large enough to feed two people.

The meal consisted of a salmon cake harumaki, bara-sushi and mixed tempura. The salmon cake harumaki was a type of Japanese spring roll with spicy salmon. It was simple, not too greasy and had a subtle kick to it.

I had never heard of bara-sushi before I came to Yuzen. I was a bit nervous about it because it was out of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who likes sushi. It did not look like your typical sushi roll. In a sense, it was a large cube of a rice mixture that consisted of chopped seaweed salad, albacore tuna, tuna, salmon, mackerel and tamago, which is an egg cake.

The fish tasted fresh and was not overpowering. The seaweed salad did not take over the sushi, but rather complemented the fish, and the tamago added a subtle sweetness to the whole dish. The mixed tempura included green beans, mushrooms, zucchini slices, carrot slices, broccoli and shrimp. Like the salmon cake harumaki, the tempura was hot, fresh and was not greasy with a nice crunch to it.

I am glad that I tried something new. I got a taste of fresh Japanese food and I would recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for something fresh, easy and inexpensive.

Contact Elise Van Dam at

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